Ph.D. Programs Washington DC with School Information

There are roughly ten schools offering doctoral programs in Washington DC. See how four universities from this area stack up against each other to find the school for you.

School Ranking Overview

The nation's capital has several schools that offer graduate education at the doctoral level. Students wanting to earn a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree can choose from mostly private non-profit universities. This article highlights four of Washington DC's schools and ranks the top three in these categories:

  • Program Variety
  • Tuition
  • Graduation Rate
  • Student-to-Faculty Ratio

Program Variety

Generally, students heading into doctoral programs have academic or professional experience in their chosen field and are therefore not undecided about their educational goals. Still, going to a college or university with a large number of programs may open up doors to exploring multiple disciplines or specializations. The following three schools have the most programs among those compared.

1. George Washington University

Located in Washington DC, George Washington University offers 174 programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Students can earn associate's degrees, bachelor's degrees, certificates, master's degrees and doctorates at the private non-profit school. Those interested in PhD programs can choose to study subjects such as engineering management, public administration, business, American studies, mathematics, psychology, counseling, molecular medicine and economics, among others.

2. Howard University

Washington DC's Howard University takes second place for its program count of 133. Students enrolled in PhD programs study subjects such as anatomy, African Studies, social work, political science, mechanical engineering, history, genetics and atmospheric science. Along with doctorates, the private non-profit institution awards undergraduate certificates, bachelor's degrees, graduate certificates and master's degrees.

3. Georgetown University

Georgetown University, also based out of Washington DC, offers education at the undergraduate and graduate certificate levels, as well as bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels. Among the private non-profit university's 95 programs are PhD options in neuroscience, global disease, theology, linguistics, philosophy, computer science, pharmacology and government, among others.


Financial aid in the form of scholarships, grants and loans or graduate assistantships and fellowships can help make school more affordable for grad students. Still, advanced education is a considerable investment. The universities below had the lowest graduate tuition for the 2013-2014 academic year of the four, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

1. Gallaudet University

Gallaudet University is a Washington DC-based institution that offers undergraduate and graduate education, including doctoral programs. A private non-profit school, Gallaudet charged an average of $14,774 for a year of enrollment by graduate students. This figure does not include program fees, room and board, textbooks or other educational expenses students may have.

2. George Washington University

Ranking second is George Washington University; grad students paid $25,920 on average.

3. Howard University

Students enrolled in graduate programs at Howard University paid an average of $30,545 in tuition charges for the academic year, placing the school in the third spot for this category.

Graduation Rate

The NCES information on graduation rates is based solely on undergraduates, but those rates can still provide aspiring doctoral students an idea of schools' educational quality. Based on students who entered undergraduate programs in the fall of 2007 and finished them within 150% of normal time, the following institutions have the highest graduation rates.

1. Georgetown University

The graduation rate at Georgetown University is 92%; the school also has the highest fall 2012 to fall 2013 retention rate for full-time bachelor's-level students at 96%. These high percentages are an indication that most students are satisfied with their academic experience at Georgetown.

2. George Washington University

George Washington University's graduation rate stands at 81%, which is the second highest of the group. The NCES reports that 92% of full-time students seeking bachelor's degrees in fall 2012 remained at the institution a year later.

3. Howard University

The last of the top three is Howard University with a graduation rate of 61%. Of those that entered bachelor's-level programs on a full-time basis in the fall of 2012, 82% stayed on at the school the next fall.

Student-to-Faculty Ratio

Low student-to-faculty ratios at colleges or universities are ideal for students who prefer small class sizes and want to receive individualized attention from professors. All of the institutions featured in this article have low ratios, but the top three are as follows, per NCES data.

1. Gallaudet University

With a student-to-faculty ratio of just 6:1, Gallaudet University takes the top spot among the group. The school, which serves a student body of under 2,000, has a faculty of 189 professionals, according to 2013 NCES information.

2. Howard University

Howard University's ratio is ten students for every one faculty member. In the fall of 2013, the university employed 1,002 full-time and 293 adjunct faculty members; of those, 1,224 held instructional positions.

3. Georgetown University

At 11:1, the third lowest student-to-faculty ratio belongs to Georgetown. The university's faculty, as of 2013, includes nearly 2,500 professionals. Among that total are 1,173 full-time and 961 part-time professors.

Washington DC Schools: At a Glance

School Name Location School Type Programs Offered Area Ranking
Gallaudet University Washington DC Private non-profit Undergraduate and graduate certificates; bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees #1 in Tuition, #1 in Student-to-Faculty Ratio
Georgetown University Washington DC Private non-profit Undergraduate and graduate certificates; bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees #3 in Program Variety, #1 in Graduation Rate, #3 in Student-to-Faculty Ratio
George Washington University Washington DC Private non-profit Undergraduate and graduate certificates; associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees #1 in Program Variety, #2 in Tuition, #2 in Graduation Rate
Howard University Washington DC Private non-profit Undergraduate and graduate certificates; bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees #2 in Program Variety, #3 in Tuition, #3 in Graduation Rate, #2 in Student-to-Faculty Ratio

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